Anyone under 21 years old is not allowed to consume, purchase, or possess alcohol. Unfortunately, high school and college students throughout Missouri and the rest of the country often engage in underage drinking, which is why drunk driving is one of the leading deaths among teenagers and young people. 

The legal limit for adults who are at least 21 is a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 percent or higher in Missouri. On the other hand, the BAC limit for underage drivers is .02 percent. 

However, Missouri DUI law doesn’t contain any specific provisions regarding underage drunk driving. Rather, anyone under 21 who is visibly intoxicated or has a BAC of between .02 and .07 percent can be charged with “minor in possession” (MIP), which is a class A misdemeanor that carries a maximum jail term of one year, a fine of up to $2,000, and driver’s license suspension for 30 days (followed by ignition interlock device installation for 60 days). 

If an underage driver’s BAC is at least .08 percent, then he/she will be charged with a standard DUI. A first offense is punishable by a jail sentence of up to six months, a maximum fine of $500, and driver’s license suspension for 90 days. Although the criminal penalties for MIP are more serious than DUI, having a DUI conviction appear on a criminal record can do more damage to a person’s professional reputation and personal life. 

The following are other MIP-related offenses in Missouri: 

  • Possession of an open container 

  • Possessing a fake ID 

  • Illegally altering or reproducing a driver’s license 

  • Selling, giving away, or otherwise supplying alcohol to a minor 

If you or your child has been arrested for underage DUI in St. Charles, MO, call Smith Law Offices, LLC at (636) 400-1177 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule a free consultation. Our legal team has more than 50 years of combined legal experience! 

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